The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and the NFL Power Rankings are back to survey the landscape of a league altered by hirings, firings, retirements, free agency movement and the arrival of a fresh batch of college stars.
If you're unhappy with your team's placement on said rankings, please be advised that all 32 organizations will have ample opportunity to make aggressive moves up the board -- you just have to wait four more months or so before the games begin. Isn't that the worst?
As always, thanks for following along. Let's get into it.
NOTE: Up/down arrows below reflect team movement from March's Power Rankings, which were published after the free agency frenzy.
Previous rank: No. 1
Last year, the Chiefs traded away an all-time great at wide receiver in Tyreek Hill ... then won the Super Bowl anyway. Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach continued their WR-room rebuild on Friday with the selection of SMU playmaker Rashee Rice. (Quick aside: Could there be a more euphoric feeling for a receiver prospect than getting a call from Patrick Mahomes' team on draft night?) Rice enters the picture a year after Skyy Moore was taken in the second round and six months after the trade-deadline acquisition of Kadarius Toney. All three players need to make their mark: 103 catches and 1,230 yards went out the door with Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster leaving in free agency.
Previous rank: No. 2
All hail Howie. The Eagles GM did it again, nabbing two hugely talented defenders in the first round in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, before pulling the trigger on a logical, smart trade to acquire running back D'Andre Swift from the Lions on Saturday. The moves make Philadelphia better on both sides of the ball and further entrench the Eagles as the top dog in NFC. NFL Network's Peter Schrager reported on Saturday that GMs across the league are grumbling about the amount of praise Roseman receives from the football cognoscenti. On the playgrounds of my youth, these individuals would be labeled as sore losers.
Previous rank: No. 3
There was loads of speculation entering the draft that Cincinnati would make a move to replace Joe Mixon, the veteran running back who's coming off a down season and is currently facing criminal charges for an off-field incident. Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs -- the top running backs in this draft class -- each came off the board long before Cincinnati came on the clock Thursday night, removing any Mixon-related drama in Round 1. The team did select Illinois RB Chase Brown in the fifth round on Saturday, but the day ended with head coach Zac Taylor throwing his support behind his incumbent starter. "His future is here with the team," Taylor said. "I like Joe Mixon."
Previous rank: No. 4
The Bills did the right thing in Kansas City, dedicating the top of their draft board to players who will make life easier for Josh Allen. Buffalo traded up in the first round to select Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid, a soft-handed playmaker and interesting complement to incumbent tight end Dawson Knox. Buffalo then used its second pick to address the interior of the offensive line, selecting O'Cyrus Torrence, the highly regarded guard out of Florida. With two moves, Allen gets a much-needed weapon in the passing game and the promise of better protection up front after absorbing 33 sacks a season ago. If the Bills can stick the landing with a DeAndre Hopkins acquisition -- he likes the organization, you know -- the offseason will be perceived as a smashing success.
Previous rank: No. 5
Kyle Shanahan knows what you think Kyle Shanahan wants to do. The Niners have garnered a reputation for loading up on running backs in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, but the team threw a curveball with the selection of Michigan kicker Jake Moody at 99th overall on Friday. It's the highest we've seen a kicker go in the draft since the Bucs invested a second-round pick in Roberto Aguayo in 2016. That move ended in calamity for Tampa Bay, but Shanahan didn't sound worried about history repeating itself. "You gotta know how high we think of you, man," the coach said in a phone call to Moody. "We didn't take a running back; we spent a third-round pick on a kicker." Oh, Shanny!
Previous rank: No. 6
The strength of Dallas' defense is a fierce pass rush led by Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong. Head coach Mike McCarthy believes that strength will intensify after the team used its first-round pick on Michigan run-stuffer Mazi Smith. It marked the first time Dallas has used a first-round selection on defensive tackle since the pick of Russell Maryland in 1991 (that one worked out pretty well). "We have an elite pass-rush group," McCarthy said, "and just the fact of the matter, when your run defense improves, obviously you've got some longer down-and-distances with it, which tilts the field toward our pass rush." Makes sense to us.
Previous rank: No. 13
Everything In Its Right Place. Lamar Jackson is back with his flock on a historic new contract, and the clouds have parted in an instant above Charm City. Baltimore used the top of its draft on Boston College star Zay Flowers, a dynamic playmaker who joins a wide receiver room that has more talent than it did at any previous time during Jackson's tenure as starter. Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman are a legit trio, while Mark Andrews returns as one of the best playmaking tight ends in the sport. Lamar got his money (well, most of it) ... and the supporting cast he's desired for years. It's time for the Ravens' offense to fly again.
Previous rank: No. 7
On a weekend in which the AFC South got a lot more compelling, the Jaguars quietly went about their business. The first-round selection of Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison had some added intrigue following the news that starting left tackle Cam Robinson is facing a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Harrison played nearly his entire college career at left tackle, but profiles as the starting right tackle in 2023 (with third-year reserve Walker Little likely covering the blind side during Robinson's absence). Jacksonville continued to build around Trevor Lawrence with its next two picks, selecting tight end Brenton Strange and running back Tank Bigsby.
Previous rank: No. 9
Moving back two spots in the first round as the "sweetener" in the Aaron Rodgers trade proved potentially costly, as New York watched the last of the four top offensive linemen in the first round come off the board a pick before the Jets went on the clock at No. 15 overall. The ensuing selection of Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV felt like a pivot, but no one in Florham Park will complain if McDonald finally gives the team a consistent threat on the edge. When one of the most important weeks in franchise history wrapped, you could see the sense of accomplishment on the faces of GM Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. "It's been a fun week, a fun week," Saleh said with a smile. "To get Aaron here, it's a blessing. ... We got better this week -- a lot better this week."
Previous rank: No. 10
The Dolphins didn't have a first-round pick, thanks to their Tom Brady yacht shenanigans -- in fact, their four total picks were the fewest of any team in the league this year. When their turn finally came on Friday, the Fins decided to add another intriguing talent to their high-profile cornerback room. South Carolina cover man Cam Smith isn't about to steal playing time from Jalen Ramsey or Xavien Howard, but he will almost certainly have an immediate role in Vic Fangio's zone-coverage scheme. If Smith makes strides as a rookie, he could push Ramsey or Howard out of the lineup in 2024.
Previous rank: No. 11
With two picks in the first round, the Lions entered the draft with a golden opportunity to significantly improve their defense overnight. While they did use the No. 18 pick on linebacker Jack Campbell, they actually spent their top pick -- No. 12 overall, following a trade down from No. 6 -- on running back Jahmyr Gibbs, a move that prompted D'Andre Swift's trade to the Eagles two days later. If Gibbs becomes a star, no one will take issue with the choice. But was this the best use of Detroit's assets? They could have paired Aidan Hutchinson with another promising edge rusher, or added elite young talent at cornerback after cutting ties with former first-rounder Jeff Okudah. Not necessarily a bad draft, but a curious one.
Previous rank: No. 14
Geno Smith is in one of those pockets of life where everything seems to break your way. The Russell Wilson trade spawned a starting opportunity, which led to a breakout season, a Pro Bowl selection, Comeback Player of the Year honors and a life-changing new contract. The hits kept coming in the first night of the draft; Seattle opted not to take one of the highly rated passers off the board with the fifth overall pick (opting for Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon), then added coveted Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th pick. Geno will enter his second season as starter in Seattle with a wide receiver trio (DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Smith-Njigba) that has the potential to be as productive as any group in the league. The Geno-issance rolls on!
Previous rank: No. 8
The Chargers entered the draft with talent at wide receiver, but that talent is also aging and injury prone. Enter TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston, a first-round selection who should give Justin Herbert and his bionic arm a big-bodied target with explosive playmaking ability. In the fourth round, the Bolts added Johnson's TCU teammate, Derius Davis. He profiles as a replacement for DeAndre Carter, who defected for the Raiders in free agency. With running back Austin Ekeler more likely to return than not -- his request for a trade hasn't produced a nibble -- new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will have plenty to work with.
.Previous rank: No. 12
The Giants didn't get many headlines for their draft haul, but they might have come out of the weekend with starters from their first three picks. Deonte Banks (selected 24th overall out of Maryland) makes sense as a starter across from Adoree' Jackson at cornerback in Wink Martindale's defense. Center John Michael Schmitz could be a second-round steal and should have the chance to be a Day 1 starter. Then there's third-round pick and Tennessee product Jalin Hyatt, a wide receiver who gives the G-Men the vertical threat they lacked a season ago. The Giants expect Daniel Jones to continue to ascend in 2023 -- well, one can only presume this, based on the size of his new contract -- and this draft should help fuel that goal.
Previous rank: No. 15
A lack of consistency on the offensive line has held the Steelers back since the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era. Perhaps the team's decision to trade up in the first round to secure Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones at 14th overall will be remembered as the start of a new era of success in the trenches. This is all part of a pattern in recent seasons, as Pittsburgh continues to use the top of its draft board to build a foundation for the offense. In 2021, it was running back Najee Harris; last year, it was Kenny Pickett; and now, a blind-side blocker for the young quarterback. The goal is to develop and contend at the same time.
Previous rank: No. 16
All the smoke connecting the Vikings to an aggressive move up the draft board to select a quarterback proved to be just that ... smoke, drifting into the atmosphere and dissolving into nothingness. Kirk Cousins will remain the unquestioned starter in 2023 and perhaps beyond, even if Minnesota did invest a fifth-round pick in BYU QB Jaren Hall. The Vikings did Cousins multiple favors, actually. The team used its first-round pick (23rd overall) on USC wide receiver Jordan Addison. With Adam Thielen now set to catch passes from Bryce Young in Charlotte, the decision to bring a new WR2 to Minnesota served as one of the most sensible moves of the first round by any team.
Previous rank: No. 17
Nobody puts Bill Belichick in a corner. Conventional wisdom says to wait until the end of the draft -- or the free agency period that immediately follows -- to fill out your roster with guys who kick the ball for a living. Instead, the Patriots coach used a fourth-round pick on Maryland kicker Chad Ryland before spending a sixth-rounder on Michigan State punter Bryce Baringer. Take that, conventional wisdom! Belichick also told reporters he "absolutely" feels the same way about Mac Jones as he did at this time last year, when the former first-round pick was coming off a Pro Bowl season as a rookie. The potentially chilly relationship between coach and QB remains a subplot to watch on Patriot Way.
Previous rank: No. 22
The uncertainty surrounding Alvin Kamara -- currently facing conspiracy to commit battery and substantial bodily harm charges -- had to be a significant driving force in New Orleans' decision to invest a third-round pick in TCU running back Kendre Miller. The Saints added Jamaal Williams in free agency, but more depth was a necessity with Kamara facing his legal issues and a possible suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Miller's agility and vision helped make him a star in college; the youthful jolt he can provide is welcome news for a Saints running game that ranked in the bottom half of the league in yards per carry last season.
Previous rank: No. 19
It's Jordan Love's show in Green Bay now. And while the Packers can't help themselves when it comes to drafting defensive players in the first round -- they made it eight out of 10 years with the selection of Iowa defensive end Lukas Van Ness -- team brass also made a concerted effort to help their young QB in his maiden voyage across the NFL. The team used its pair of second-round picks (one of them acquired in the Aaron Rodgers trade) to add Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave and Michigan State wideout Jayden Reed before taking another TE -- South Dakota State product Tucker Kraft -- in the third round. This has the feel of a developmental year for the offense, a reality that will put more pressure on the defense to play at a high level.
Previous rank: No. 20
The Rams sat out the first round (again) this spring, once again proving the theory that, no matter how big your party house is, you won't get much attention this time of year without a premium draft choice. L.A.'s buzziest pick came in Day 3, when the team finally addressed its barren QB depth chart with the selection of Stetson Bennett, fresh off consecutive national championships at Georgia. Fun fact: Bennett is the first quarterback the Rams have taken in the draft since Jared Goff went No. 1 back in 2016. Bennett isn't about to push Matthew Stafford for the starting job, but winning the backup spot could pave the way for playing time this season.
Previous rank: No. 21
The Browns had a smart, sensible draft -- but when it comes to this franchise, the focus continues to hang over the quarterback position. Deshaun Watson underwhelmed upon his return from suspension last year, prompting questions about whether he'll be able to regain the form that made him a superstar in Houston. "You can't define my career off of six games," Watson said in a surprise appearance on Twitter Spaces last week. The steady drumbeat of drama following Watson can cloud the fact that the Browns have an intriguing roster that makes them potential bounce-back candidates in the AFC. If Watson gets his game back, Cleveland is going to surprise people.
Previous rank: No. 23
The Vegas pass rush got a major boost with the Thursday night selection of Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson seventh overall. Wilson, a tantalizing prospect, joins a Raiders front seven that features two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby and veteran Chandler Jones (up to 112 sacks in his career). Wilson fills a definite need -- the Raiders finished in the bottom three in sacks a season ago. Elsewhere, Vegas found good value in the second round with Notre Dame star Michael Mayer, thought by many draft pundits to be the best tight end in this class. Mayer slots into the role vacated by Darren Waller, who was traded to the Giants at the start of the league year.
Previous rank: No. 27
Let's start positively: Bijan Robinson is an enormous talent with the ability to become an immediate superstar in 2023. Problem is, anything less than instant greatness will make you wonder if the Falcons made the wrong decision with the eighth overall pick. Atlanta already has an excellent young backfield presence in 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Allgeier, and while Falcons coach Arthur Smith contended on Thursday night that Robinson is "a lot more than a running back," the University of Texas star is not an elite edge rusher, franchise quarterback or starting-caliber player at receiver/cornerback -- all bigger needs for Atlanta entering the draft. Let's see how this one plays out.
Previous rank: No. 28
The Titans made a sensible move on Thursday night, selecting versatile Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski with the 11th overall pick. One night later, they pulled the trigger on a trade that ended the draft-board freefall of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis two picks into the second round. Ryan Tannehill remains on the roster, and he might stay there as coach Mike Vrabel and GM Ran Carthon attempt to balance contending in the present with developing for the future. The decision to import Levis says all you need to know about the team's thoughts on Malik Willis, a third-round pick last year who appears to very suddenly be the odd man out in the quarterback room.
Previous rank: No. 18
The Panthers finally got their man. After several years in the QB wilderness that featured multiple highly publicized swings and misses, Carolina got the fresh start it wanted with Bryce Young. Concerns about the size and durability of the Alabama star are not to be dismissed, but there is plenty of reason to believe Carolina just imported a franchise-shifting player at the game's most important position with the No. 1 overall pick. Young won't be able to do it alone, of course. The Panthers hope they can fill the hole left by D.J. Moore (sent to Chicago in the trade that ultimately allowed them to land Young) with Ole Miss wideout Jonathan Mingo, selected with the eighth pick of the second round. If Young can make quick strides as a rookie, there's no reason why the Panthers can't contend in the wide-open NFC South.
Previous rank: No. 26
The Bears set up their franchise well with the blockbuster trade that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers in exchange for a bushel of high draft picks and stud wide receiver D.J. Moore. Third-year quarterback Justin Fields received more help on Thursday night with the selection of Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright at No. 10 overall. Wright profiles as a significant upgrade over former right tackle Riley Reiff, who signed with the Patriots in March. Chicago filled another need on the roster with the second-round selection of Florida defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr. The Bears remain a work in progress, but a jump from Fields could make them players in the mysterious NFC North.
Previous rank: No. 25
The Broncos hope Russell Wilson has a bounce-back season in his bones after a disastrous debut in Denver. The 34-year-old quarterback has received some good infrastructural aid to help bring that goal to fruition. Sean Payton entered the building as head coach, and the team spent big money in free agency to improve an offensive line that allowed Wilson to absorb a league-high 55 sacks last season. The Broncos entered this draft without first- or second-round picks, but Payton moved back into the second round with a trade that nabbed Oklahoma wideout Marvin Mims Jr. If Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy stick around, Mims is another compelling piece in a solid stable of playmakers. If Wilson fails again, it won't be because of his supporting cast.
Previous rank: No. 31
The Colts have an exciting new identity. Quarterback Anthony Richardson brings his completely unique level of athleticism to the NFL as the new face of football in Indianapolis. This is welcome whiplash for Colts fans who just came off a disastrous season of late-period Matt Ryan and his statue-like presence in the pocket. Back to Richardson: Colts owner Jim Irsay told NFL Media's Judy Battista that Richardson would likely have been the pick even if Indy had been No. 1 on the draft board. This is the kind of thing that teams say all the time, but you believe it with Irsay: The Colts desperately wanted to wipe the slate clean and start anew -- the idea of Richardson's absurd athleticism lighting Lucas Oil Stadium ablaze on Sundays gets the job done and then some.
Previous rank: No. 24
The Buccaneers are serious about this Baker Mayfield thing, huh? Tampa Bay chose not to address the quarterback position with its eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, setting up a summertime camp battle between Mayfield -- the No. 1 overall pick-turned-journeyman -- and former second-round choice Kyle Trask. It's not a situation that inspires an enormous amount of confidence, but it's worth remembering that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are still around to help things along as much as they can. First-round pick Calijah Kancey continues a trend in Tampa Bay, becoming the third defensive tackle in six years to be selected with the Bucs' top choice. They have a type.
Previous rank: No. 29
The Sam Howell thing might be real. The Commanders kept telling anyone who asked that they were serious about giving the 2022 fifth-round pick a chance to win the starting job in 2023, and their decision to pass on taking a quarterback in the draft proved they were serious. A Howell v. Jacoby Brissett summertime camp battle doesn't scream HIGH-LEVEL CONTENDER, but it's also fair to wonder if the organization is in a bit of a holding pattern on seismic decisions (like, say, using an early pick on a quarterback), with team ownership very much in transition. A new era in Washington football is coming ... just not yet.
Previous rank: No. 30
After two years idling in the driveway, it finally appears that the Texans have hit the road in search of renewed NFL relevance. Houston was the big star of Night 1 in Kansas City, staying home at No. 2 to select quarterback C.J. Stroud before pulling the trigger on a blockbuster trade to move up to No. 3 to nab Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. The cost to get Anderson was significant, but no one will remember that if this 1-2 punch at 2-3 landed the franchise foundational pillars on both sides of the ball. Welcome back, Texans ... We missed you.
Previous rank: No. 32
The Cardinals might not be ready to compete in the NFC this season, but they used the draft to set themselves up for a better tomorrow. By first trading down to No. 12 and then moving back up to No. 6, Arizona stockpiled valuable draft capital and still got its man in Paris Johnson Jr. The offensive tackle adds a potential pillar to a line that needs to get better ahead of Kyler Murray's eventual return from reconstructive knee surgery. New GM Monti Ossenfort is playing the long game here, which makes plenty of sense for a team with a rehabbing franchise quarterback.